Steamboat Ski Area downhill trails get started |

Steamboat Ski Area downhill trails get started

Initial phase of project could be ready next summer

— It was with a lack of ceremony but a sense of excitement that work began in earnest last week on the downhill mountain bike park at Steamboat Ski Area.

A long process of planning, U.S. Forest Service approval, public comment, more planning and more approval went through several final days of double-checking early in August. Finally, on Aug. 8, ski area shovel met Forest Service ground.

"We are all squared away with the Forest Service, passed the Forest Service line at this point and working away," said Jim Schneider, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. vice president of skier services.

The British Colombia-based trail design firm Gravity Logic laid out Steamboat's bike park last summer, marking real progress on a plan that had been growing for years. A wet spring and summer this year, combined with the thorough Forest Service review procedures, pushed back work on the trails.

Ski area trail crews completed what they could, opening in late July a short beginner trail on privately owned property at the ski area base.

"It's a very flowy, nice, banked-turn trail," Schneider said. "We've heard nothing but good about it."

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Officials hope to have at least one big brother trail ready by next summer, though work likely won't be completed this fall.

Schneider said Gravity Logic designed the trails and will continue work in a consulting role. The actual work, however, falls on local trail builders.

"This is our first time building these type of trails," he said. "We're still learning, but we're hoping that we get a big chunk done this fall, and all we'll have to do next spring is tie some things together to be ready for opening."

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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